A Fatal Can of Beans

Note: This is an encore post from 2007.

Jan. 5, 1907
Los Angeles

Charles Edward Abbott, 23, of Artesia had lived his entire life in California without seeing snow except on faraway mountains and suggested that Mabel Carter, 28, and her father, Henry, 63, join him on a trip to Cucamonga Canyon.

The Carters, who once owned a grocery story at 10th Street and Alvarado before moving to Ontario, and Abbott went to Cucamonga, expecting to spend several days there.

During their stay, they ate a can of pork and beans that had been purchased in September and stored with other provisions in a commissary box under an orange tree in the yard outside the cabin.

Henry Carter was the first to fall ill. Assuming some other cause, he encouraged his daughter and Abbott to take a hike while he stayed behind. They were too ill to go far, however, and returned to the cabin, where they ate another can of pork and beans.

The three victims returned to the Carter home in Ontario. Mabel Carter was the first to die, tended by Abbott, who was next, followed by Henry Carter.

Four physicians attending the victims were unable to explain what killed them. “The case has different features than any they have yet dealt with,” The Times says. The victims complained of “double vision, numbness of the limbs and a paralysis of the tongue. A few hours before death the eyelids closed and it was impossible for them to open them. None of the three experienced any pain and the case throughout is most puzzling.”

A triple funeral was held at First Methodist Church of Ontario. The Carters were buried at Bellevue Cemetery in Ontario while Abbott was buried in Artesia.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1907, Black Dahlia, Books and Authors, LAPD, Streetcars. Bookmark the permalink.

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